Nick Saban says he's just following SEC rules when it comes to grad transfers

Alabama head coach Nick Saban poses for photos on the red carpet before the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Alabama coach Nick Saban had the chance to explain his reasoning for why the school doesn’t want offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy transferring within the conference.

A graduate transfer, Kennedy wants to go to either Tennessee or Auburn. But, just like with Maurice Smith two years ago, Alabama isn’t giving Kennedy the ability to do so, citing an SEC rule that prevents graduate transfers within the conference.

“Well then we should change the rule,” Nick Saban said at his pre-SEC meetings press conference Tuesday. “I don’t think it should be on me. I think we should change the rule. If we agree in the SEC at these meetings that we’re going to have free agency in our league and everybody can go wherever they want to go when they graduate — that’s what’s best for the game, then that’s what we should do. Then Brandon Kennedy can go wherever he wants to go.”

Saban has a fair point, he’s just following the SEC’s rules. But the SEC isn’t hard and fast with the rule, as evidenced by Smith. He got a waiver to go to Georgia as backlash built against Alabama’s refusal to let him go. Kennedy could get a waiver to go to either Auburn or Tennessee if Alabama would be willing to let him go to either of the schools. It’s not. Yet, anyway.

SEC coaches are expected to meet about transfer issues this week and that includes discussion of possible changes about the graduate-transfer rule.

Saban isn’t the only coach who has mentioned “free agency” when it comes to possible transfer reform. Coaches are clearly spooked about the idea of transfers moving freely from school-to-school like they do when finding new jobs.

But Saban is also in a very unique position. While he can justifiably say that he’s just doing what the SEC guidelines say, he also knows that as the most powerful coach in college football he could single-handedly push for different transfer rules.

As of now, it appears he’s content with the status quo. We’ll see if other SEC coaches share his viewpoint or if the conference will make a tweak to its graduate-transfer rules for the second straight offseason.

Saban was also eminently quotable about headsets

The NCAA recently passed a rule that limits teams to the use of just 20 headsets during games. Saban has the biggest staff in the country, so the limit affects Alabama more than it does other teams.

Saban noted that interns and other lower-level staffers watch games from the press box with headsets so they can chart plays and statistics. They won’t have the use of those headsets any longer.

“I don’t know how exactly we’re going to manage that … I don’t necessarily think it’s a good rule,” Saban said. “I think it’s very short-sighted. It’s an opportunity for someone to kind of control how many people we can have on staff.”

And then he finished with this.

“I don’t know who’s diving all this stuff but to me it’s kind of like mouse manure when you’re up to your ears in elephant doo doo,” he said.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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